When we visited Copenhagen, two things struck me! Firstly, how friendly Danish people are and, secondly, that you need a guide to visiting Copenhagen. It’s a city that can swallow up your time and it’s so easy to get bamboozled with all the amazing things to do once you’re there.
This is exactly why I wanted to share some of the tips we learned after our trips to Copenhagen.
We’ve popped (all 33 of) them all into one handy blog post that shares some of the very best things to do and a guide to visiting Copenhagen on your first trip.
After all, no one likes wasting time in a new city that they’re itching to explore.
Anyway, take a look below at our guide to visiting Copenhagen. Have the best trip.
So, the Danish capital (Copenhagen) and its culinary prowess has snatched lots of attention over the last decade, with loads of new little eateries and spots to gorge whilst in the city.
Honestly, Copenhagen’s restaurants are totally winning when it comes to awards and you definitely need a guide to visiting Copenhagen and the best spots. This is exactly why I’ve popped a few, below.
1.) New Nordic Kitchen
For instance, why, New Nordic kitchen has gained international appeal around the world, and the unique Nordic identity with its high commitment to organic, sustainable and local products, which has become accessible to the greater public thanks to restaurant groups as Cofoco, ensures a dining experience to remember.
Another hot spot has to be Cofoco restaurant Höst serves affordable fine Nordic food in central Copenhagen.
At Höst, the focus is on raw materials from the Nordic kitchen, where you can enjoy lobster, beef or Danish cheese made at the coast of the North Sea. Besides the food, Höst has already won three international design awards, including the award for the World’s Best-Designed Restaurant at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards, too.
3.) Uformel (Informal)
In late May 2014, Kristian Arpe-Møller and Rune Amgild Jochumsen, the team behind Michelin-star restaurant Formel B, opened the self-proclaimed “cool and edgy younger brother,” Uformel.
Chef Frederik Rudkjøbing, the former sous chef at Formel B, works closely with small Danish farms and continually looks for seasonal ingredients from across the globe.
Dishes like Danish Organic Lamb with Tomato and Grilled Salad, and Ceviche of Turbot with Green Strawberries, Grilled Fennel and Pickled Garlic are some of the best to try.
4.) Number 2
Number 2 is the relaxed and laid-back accompaniment to the gourmet, 2 Michelin-starred establishments, AOC.
Located on the water in Christianshavn, No. 2 gives guests a grand view of the Copenhagen Canal and the Black Diamond—the new extension of Denmark’s Royal Library—and provides Resident Chef Nikolaj Køster with the opportunity to feature fresh, local seafood.
Together with Søren Selin, co-owner and chef de cuisine at AOC, Chef Køster focuses on elements such as beach, sea, forest, and field in the detail-oriented dishes that feature raw ingredients thoughtfully combined in innovative creations like North Sea Cod, Salt Baked Celeriac, Browned Butter and Sorrel, and Radishes with Smoked Cheese and Bottarga.
The wine list at no. 2 was created by Christian Aarø, owner of AOC, and the “Best Sommelier” in both Denmark and Norway. It ranges from local to global selections, with an emphasis on sustainable wine, too. Yum!
Torvehallerne great food market halls in the heart of the city. It’s easily one of the best markets to stop off at for lunch and some vino whilst exploring Copenhagen. It’s easily included in our guide to visiting Copenhagen as it’s so easy to visit and the food offerings are always so good.
6.) Kødbyens Mad & Marked
This is a totally yummy food market and small indie eateries in Copenhagen’s Meatpacking District. It’s the perfect place to go in the early evening; especially on a Friday and Saturday evening.
Smørrebrød (open sandwich)
The traditional Danish open sandwich, or smørrebrød, is on everyone’s lips these days. Well, mine at least! I love them.
Smørrebrød dates back to the 19th century when, for many agricultural workers, lunch was the main meal of the day.
Smørrebrød is a daily staple for many Danes and a truly classic taste of the nation’s traditional cuisine. Invariably based on rye bread, smørrebrød can have an almost limitless number of different toppings, from herring to raw beef, seafood and egg.
Smørrebrød has become very popular in recent years, especially among young people. There’s no way I could miss these in our guide to visiting Copenhagen.
7.) Aamanns Etablissement
At the Michelin Guide-recommended restaurant, Aamanns Etablissement in Copenhagen Adam Aamann and his team serve Aamanns’ signature smørrebrød and classic Danish dishes for lunch with home-made schnapps and local organic beer.
8.) Royal Smushi Café
Royal Smushi Cafe in the heart of Copenhagen combines Danish food and Danish design in a humorous atmosphere. On the menu, you will find smushi, a Danish open-faced sandwich prepared in sushi size.
9.) Peder Oxe
Located at Gråbrødretorv in the centre of Copenhagen, you can enjoy freshly made smørrebrød inspired by Nordic and French cuisine The menu is adjusted according to the seasonal offerings of fresh produce, ensuring a traditional Danish lunch of highest quality.
10.) Øl & Brød
At Øl & Brød (meaning Beer and Bread) you can experience the traditional Danish open sandwich with a twist at the new addition to the Mikkeller brewery on Vesterbro in Copenhagen, just a few steps away from the original Mikkeller Bar.
This is an Organic hot dog stand located next to the Round Tower on Købmagergade Pedestrian Street. The sausages are made of organic meat. The bread is whole grain, from the slowly raised dough and topped with linseeds.
Don’t miss the third-floor whisky bar of this former pharmacy lab.
Housed within a beautiful listed building, off an innocuous alleyway, Lidkoeb is one of the hottest cocktail bars in Copenhagen and the cocktails are tasty and expertly mixed by über trendy bearded men in lumberjacks.
13.) Strøm Bar
The cocktail bar Strøm Bar by Gråbrødre Torv square in central Copenhagen is reaping increasing recognition in the international bartending world. Here, you get so-called gourmet cocktails, where all the ingredients are homemade.
The luxurious champagne bar Balthazar at the iconic Hotel d’Angleterre from 1755 offers a selection of more than 200 champagnes, tapas-style cuisine, caviar service and live DJ’s on weekends. I mean, who doesn’t love a bit of decadence and bubbles after exploring with our guide to visiting Copenhagen. Get off your feet and chill here!
15.) Salon 39
This is a different kind of cocktail bar located in the district of Frederiksberg. Here you can try cocktails you will not find any other place. The Spotted Pig, contains bacon-infused tequila, Ducktail is made with foie gras cognac and Ox Blood is mixed with ox bouillon.
16.) Canal cruise
One of the best ways to get a quick overview and introduction to the city is on a canal cruise. The boats leave every 15 minutes from Gammel Strand and the one-hour guided tour is free with your Copenhagen Card.
The journey offers stunning views of the Opera House, The Little Mermaid, The Black Diamond (an impressive black marble addition to the Royal Library leaning gracefully over the water) The Parliament, Denmark’s National Museum as well as the charming Christianshavn area.
17.) Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens was founded in 1843 and has become a national treasure and an international attraction. Fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen visited many times, as did Walt Disney and many other celebrities, who all fell in love with the gardens.
18.) Amalienborg Castle
The home of The Danish Royal Family secured by The Royal Guard. It’s easily one of the best castles and easily included in our guide to visiting Copenhagen, too.
Experience the changing of the guards, as they march from their barracks in Gothersgade by Rosenborg Castle through the streets of Copenhagen and end up at Amalienborg, where the changing of the guard takes place at 12:00 noon.
Historically, a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world would dock.
The area was packed with sailors, ladies of pleasure, pubs and alehouses. Today the beautiful old houses have been renovated and classy restaurants dominate the old port.
Nyhavn is filled with people enjoying the relaxed atmosphere by the canal, jazz music and food; the food offering can be a little touristy here; so pick wisely. This is probably one of the more famous spots in our guide to visiting Copenhagen and can’t be missed. It’s so colourful.
Views of Copenhagen
20.) The Round Tower
The 17th-century tower and observatory Rundetaarn, or the round tower, is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe.
21.) The Tower, Christiansborg Palace
Dine in the midst of Danish politics in unique historical surroundings. With its 106 metres, the Christiansborg Palace tower is the highest tower in Copenhagen.
The restaurant is run by Rasmus Bo Bojesen, who also manages the restaurant at The Royal Opera House in Copenhagen. The restaurant at the Tower presents traditional Danish dishes with a contemporary gastronomical twist to provide guests with an outstanding culinary experience.
We loved it, and the views are stunning.
22.) Alberto K
Enjoy spectacular views of Copenhagen, The Bridge and Malmø from the Alberto K restaurant at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel.
Arne Jacobsen is the architect behind the hotel and has designed most of the interior décor, including lamps, doorknobs, lamps and cutlery, especially for this hotel.
Art and design
Denmark’s design heritage continues today, influencing everything from furniture and homeware to toys, architecture and fashion.
Danish fashion is also a rapidly growing scene with high-end designers making their mark around the world. All this being said, we couldn’t not mention a fair few of these in our guide to visiting Copenhagen.
23.) Designmuseum Danmark
Thanks to 1950s Danish Modern designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner who made Danish Design a household term, Denmark is one of the world’s leading epicentres of design and architecture which is reflected in the museum’s collections.
24.) Hay House
Hay creates contemporary furniture and design products with an eye for modern living and has a great stake in Copenhagen’s position as a city of world-class design.
Hay House is located on the second floor in Østergade street, also known as Strøget pedestrian shopping street, in central Copenhagen.
25.) llums Bolighus
llums Bolighus is the premier centre in Scandinavia for Danish and international design. Furniture, lamps, kitchen and bathroom articles, ceramics, porcelain, silver, and glassware.
26.) Art & Museums
Copenhagen is a great city for art lovers if I’m totally honest. It’s home to internationally acknowledged art museums attracting artist from all over the world that you kinda can’t miss.
For instance, situated in scenic surroundings Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, a little North of Copenhagen, and ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, a little south of Copenhagen, are just epic.
Plus, the Danish National Gallery in central Copenhagen houses temporary exhibitions as well as three permanent collections of paintings and sculptures, graphic art and plaster casts. Honestly, if you love museums, you’ll love Copenhagen.
The city area of Nørrebro is a multicultural hub of restaurants, bars and eclectic shops.
Walkthrough the beautiful graveyard where Hans Christian Andersen is buried, Assistens Churchyard, and come out the other side at Jægersborggade, one of Copenhagen’s coolest streets.
Home to around 40 art galleries, organic produce shops, vintage clothes, ceramics and jewellery designers, as well as wine bars, coffee shops and restaurants, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
28.) The Meatpacking District
The Meatpacking District is a creative cluster with trendy nightlife, such as Jolene, Mesteren & Lærlingen and Bakken, galleries, such as V1, Bo Bjerggaard, Gallery Poulsen and Butcher’s Lab – a combined gym and gallery, and a broad range of high-quality restaurants.
We loved it here and really recommend visiting on a Saturday evening. It’s easily included on a weekend guide to visiting Copenhagen. You can spend hours here.
Daily, one-third of the inhabitants of Copenhagen ride a bicycle to work or school. There are more than 300km of bicycle lanes and many guided bicycle tours. So hop on a bike and discover Copenhagen by pedal power.
When staying at hotels, you can sometimes rent bicycles directly from the reception.
30.) Clean waters
Take a dip in the clean and swimmable harbour or enjoy a canal tour and experience the city from the waterside.
Your Copenhagen cards allow you to sail the battery-powered bus 11, which runs in a circle around the city’s main attractions, too.
31.) City beaches
Halvandet Beach Club: In summer, Copenhageners flock to the city’s parks, waterfronts and beaches. To get to one of the favourite summer spots, jump on the harbour bus (boat) to Halvandet, a remote beach club.
You can lounge a day away on their beach chairs, walk barefoot in the sand and eat, drink and dance like you’re far from the urban world.
Adventures & Excursions beyond Copenhagen
Copenhagen is a relatively small city with excellent public transportation, so travellers can cover most of the attractions and diverse neighbourhoods over a weekend.
If you’re interested in excursions outside the city, there are many options. Absorb wonderful art, architecture and sea views North of Copenhagen at Louisiana, one of Europe’s top modern art museums and should be included when following our guide to visiting Copenhagen.
32.) Kronborg Castle
Kronborg Castle is known worldwide as Hamlet’s and Shakespeare’s castle. It was Frederik 2, father of Christian 4, who built and named the splendid Renaissance castle we know today.
The castle was built 1574-85 inspired by European monarchs as a symbol of wealth and power. In 2000 Kronborg was admitted to the UNESCO World Heritage list.
33.) Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
The beautiful museum, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, is located 40 kilometres north of Copenhagen and it has gained a reputation as a museum in touch with the zeitgeist of the contemporary art world.
Besides the impressive permanent collection with over 3,000 works, the museum has 8-12 special exhibitions annually.